Gene Bennett
Gene was born in 1929 in San Francisco, California.  From all outward appearances, baby Gene was healthy and beautiful, but on the inside a porphyric storm was brewing.  Gene’s diapers were sometimes stained purple (a telltale sign of porphyria) and by the time Gene was 10 months old his skin began to blister on a daily basis.  The large blisters, full of porphyrin painted fluid, erupted and almost instantaneously became infected.  Because little was known about porphyria, doctors were not able to recognize the classic signs and diagnose him accordingly.  

During the depression, the Bennetts moved to the family ranch in Jackson, California.  There, the quiet onslaught of blisters on Gene’s body increased as the sun was more intense in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada then it was in the often foggy City by the Bay.  Disappointed by the inability of the town doctor to find a “cure” for Gene, Cyril and Caroline decided it was best for their son to return to San Francisco where medical care was better and more accessible. 

Doctors working at the Children’s Hospital (present day California Pacific Medical Center on California Street in San Francisco) took Gene under their wing and their microscope.  While studying his condition doctors performed experimental light treatment on their young patient.  Several medical articles were written and published by those doctors.  What they most likely meant for the betterment of future treatment only exacerbated the symptoms of Gene’s Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria (CEP) and proved to be physically devastating later.
Gene’s Life in a Glimpse